Sports, entertainment stars converge for ESPN party

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Stars from the sports and entertainment world mingled Friday night at ESPN’s lavish pre-Super Bowl party, which featured an energetic performance from pop newcomer Charli XCX.

Actors, television sports analysts and sports stars looked on as the “Boom Clap” singer belted out several of her hits, dancing and bounding around the stage.

Among the notable guests of the party were “Breaking Bad” actor Aaron Paul, NFL quarterbacks Robert Griffin III and Colin Kaepernick and a host of retired sports figures including former basketball player Rick Fox and football stars Jerome Bettis and Marcellus Wiley.

At one point, actor Mekhi Phifer from NBC’s “ER” noticed Paul, and the pair exchanged hugs and spent several minutes talking and laughing with each other.

In between live music performances by J. Cole and Charli XCX, Roots drummer Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson served as one of the party’s DJs. He arrived and was photographed with comedian Tom Arnold, but zipped past several interviewers as he dragged a red suitcase of equipment. “I gotta DJ, I’m sorry,” he told the reporters.

ESPN has devoted extensive coverage to Sunday’s championship game between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Many of its top personalities, including Michelle Beadle, Stephen A. Smith and Mike Golic, attended the party, which had a Southwestern theme. Instead of a red carpet, there was a dirt path. Fake rocks and cacti were placed throughout the venue, along with large photos of athletes and celebrities.

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Anthony McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP